Oh my God, what is that noise? Oh, the radio. Hmm, Craig David's "Fill Me In"... not a bad tune. Not the kind of music I usually go for, but still, I like it.

Oh no! You know what today is, right? Yeah, you got it, back to school. Fuckin' sweet! I somehow managed to get myself out of bed and into the bathroom (another cool thing about having the basement: I get my own bathroom, with tub and everything, very cool when you just want to soak). I stepped into the shower and jumped back as a freezing cold jet of water leaped out and hit me in the chest. I shivered away for about a minute until the water warmed up. I washed myself all over, washing my hair and slapping a little bit of conditioner in as well. Ok, call it sissy if you want, but I like having hair I can actually look at in the mirror.

I stepped out of the shower, grabbing my towel from off the rack and dried myself all over, enjoying the touch of the towel on my naked body. As you can understand, I took a little bit longer than could possibly have been justified on a certain part of my body, rubbing the warmth of the towel all around my groin, feeling my body respond to my caresses. My mom's voice made me jump and I almost dropped the towel.

"Christopher, hurry up or you'll be late for school!" Oh, what a tragedy that would be...

"Uh, yeah mom, I'll be right up." Damn! I'll have to finish that later!

I finished drying off and pulled on my CKs, hiding my still-proud erection. Not bad, even if I say so myself. Not that I'd actually seen anybody else's erect to actually compare it to, but still...I pulled my Hunter T-shirt over my head and pulled on my Dockers as quickly as I could. OK, one last look in the mirror. I grabbed my comb, spiking the front of my hair up, setting it in place with just a little bit of gel and finished off with just a splash of CK B. Well, not perfect, but damn close! I grabbed my bag, snapped my phone onto my belt, ripped open the door and ran upstairs, almost running into my dad who was walking down the hall in his bathrobe, the morning paper in one hand, still rubbing sleep out of his eyes with the other hand.

"Watch where you're going, Christopher. It's too early to be running around like that."

"Yes, dad," I said meekly, not wanting to start an argument this early in the day. I walked down the hall to the kitchen, chucking my bag down on the floor and sitting down, grabbing a bagel and some Philadelphia. I ate it as quick as I could, cause while I really wasn't looking forward to school, I sure as hell didn't want to be late first day back. I ran downstairs, brushed and flossed, ran back up and out the front door and threw my bag into my mom's silver Eclipse, jumping in after it.

"So, when's the first basketball practice, Chris?"


"After school?"

"Uh huh."

"Looking forward to it?"

"Uh huh."

"Think you'll be playing for the first team again?"

"Hope so." As you might be able to guess, I'm not the greatest conversationalist early in the morning, but hey, mom's used to it!

We didn't speak much after that, and she dropped me off outside school with just a "have a good day, honey." Ha, she knew better than to try and kiss me goodbye by now! I walked up the road to school, Kashmir still ringing in my ears. Hmm, trust me to listen to a really uplifting song before I go to bed! I walked up the front steps and through the double doors into one of the grayest buildings known to mankind. I'm sorry- everything about this school, apart from the grounds, which could be kinda pretty in summer and fall, says penal establishment to me. And I'm not just saying that cause I have to be here against my will. It really does look like one. Luke and I always used to look out for the guards with Rottweilers and M-16s. Or failing that, the janitorial staff, who are easily as bad!

I was just waiting around the hall, waiting for Luke, who, while he's never late (well, he's certainly never early), when this guy I'd never seen before walked through the door. My eyes nearly bugged straight out of my head. Kinda short, about 5'6", maybe. You might have thought he was a freshman, but the way he carried himself, even if he did look a bit timid, well, it said soph to me.

But oh, god, to say this boy was easy on the eyes is the biggest understatement I have ever heard in my life. He was wearing black jeans that were tight in ALL the right places. Not that he was heavily built at all, anything but, but those jeans seemed to have been custom made, just molded to him. The contours of his body just mesmerized me. His upper body was hidden almost completely by a YSL shirt, but he'd forgotten to do up one of the buttons, which gave me a quick flash of white stomach.

But if I thought his body looked great, I wasn't prepared for his face. Ouch! Fuckin' perfect in every way. He was perfectly smooth. Not shaven smooth- I don't think he even had to shave (I'd just started doing it every now and again), but not just that, his skin was completely unblemished. He had the cutest button nose imaginable, just the sort of face you wanted to kiss all over again and again. This vision of perfection was framed at the top by hair that was an awesome shade of dark brown, just slightly darker than mine, spiked up at the front.

"Hey, Chris!" Why is it that people always interrupt me when I'm busy these days?

"Uh, hi Luke. Look, new guy."

"Oh yeah...hey, look, ya wanna go to homeroom now?" (We'd been given the same one, which is kinda cool, but you'd think they'd know better by now! Well, never mind, more fools them!)

"Don't you think we should...help that guy? He looks kinda lost..." And he did, no idea of which way to go, with no one to help him. My school, continuing their tradition of courtesy to new students, I see!

"Nah, let him work it out for himself. Remember, we had to."

"Luke, man, there were two of us." I wasn't letting Luke get the better of me on this one. I just HAD to get closer to this guy! "Look at the poor guy, he's all alone. I'm gonna help him. Seeya in homeroom, ok?" I just hoped that none of my attraction for this guy showed.... Well, even if it did, I seriously doubt Luke would recognise it as such, but the thought still worried me a bit.

Luke looked at me kinda funny, turned and walked off, with just a "seeya there, Chris." Oh well, now or never, I guess. I walked over to him, as confident as I could possibly manage.

"Hey. Um, you ok? You know where you're going?" He looked up at me...well, I was a lot taller than him after all...


"You know where you're going?"

"Uh, I'll be fine." Oh my god! His voice! I swear this guy is perfect. He had the cutest southern accent I had ever heard in my life. It was all I could do not to melt in a puddle at his feet!

"Oh, OK. Where ya going? Which homeroom?" A look of panic flashed across his face and I immediately felt sorry for asking.

"Uh...um..." he stuttered.

"Hey, don't worry about it, it's ok. Who's your homeroom teacher?"

"Uh, Mr. Gallagher." Ok, now we're cooking! Same as me! Now if that isn't a twist of fate, tell me what is.

"Hmm, Gallagher's alright. Just don't get too close to him!" Gallagher has, like, the worst B.O. in the world. EVER! He 'taught' me geography last year, so I guess I should know.

"What d'ya mean?"

"Oh, you'll see," I said, as cryptically as I could, cracking a little smile. "C'mon, or we're gonna be late."

"Uh, OK," he said, slinging his Hilfiger bag over his shoulder slowly and following me hesitantly down the hall. I had a chance to take a closer look at him. Yeah, his face was something off the cover of Teenbeat or something, but even better than that! The thing I hadn't noticed before was his eyes. They showed another side of him. He had the most intelligent eyes I've ever seen. That might sound really strange, but it's true. Y'know how a lot of jocks just have this vacant stare? Well, he was the complete opposite. His eyes were alert, shining and an awesome shade of blue that I just wanted to get lost in forever. But... I just realized - I wanted to be with this guy, but I didn't even know his name. OK, cunning plan number one.

"Oh man, I am just the rudest!" I offered my hand to him, which he took, after a bit of hesitation. "I'm Chris Robinson," I said, not wanting him to take his hand away. His touch almost took my breath away. His skin was so soft and smooth, yet he had a kinda firm handshake. A vision of him with that hand gripping something completely different flashed across my mind, but I dismissed that before I lost it completely.

"Um, I'm James Daley," he stuttered in that gorgeous southern drawl. "But you can call me Jim, uh, if you want," he said, gaining a little bit of confidence. "My family and I just finished up moving yesterday." We went back to walking towards homeroom, just chatting away.

"So, where did you move from?"

"Jackson, Mississippi."

"Yeah? Cool. But, kinda a long way to come to go to school, isn't it?"

His face cracked and he smiled for the first time since I'd met him. OK, now if I thought he was totally hot normally, and if I told you that his face positively lit up when he smiled, even only a little bit, you could probably guess what I thought of him now. I practically had to hold my jaw in place to stop it dropping in absolute amazement. He let out a little laugh that sounded almost musical, it was so sweet to my ears.

"Ha, no, we moved here cause of my mom's work... well, that, and something else."

"Your mom came to OREGON to work? Jesus, I hope it's a well-paid job!" I said, managing to get another little smile out of him. I didn't attach as much importance to the '...and something else,' right then. "OK, here we are, room 116, our very own private hellhole for the next year." I pushed the door open for James (I dunno, but I find it difficult to think of him as Jim) and he walked through, muttering a quick 'thanks' to me. I walked in, into the same old geography room, into the same old cacophony of noise, into the same old B.O. haze that I'd unfortunately grown so familiar with. Well, some things never change, I suppose. Old Gallagher is gonna have the same room and B.O. until he dies, and he still can't control a class to save his life!

"Ah, Mr. Robinson, late as usual," Gallagher bellowed out over the noise. I flipped him a sardonic salute and went over to sit by Luke, getting a round of 'hi's from nearly all of the class, worryingly enough including Melanie Sanford, one of those annoying people who practically stalks you. You know the type? Well, that's her all over. I took my seat and looked around to see James still talking to Gallagher.

When he turned around, I waved to him and shouted, "Hey James, over here!" He went bright red and gave me a real funny look, but he still walked over and took the seat beside me, on the other side of Luke. "Hey, Luke, this is James. He just moved here." I don't think Luke could honestly have looked any less interested, but he still leaned across the front of my desk and offered his hand to James, who shook it reluctantly.

"Hey, I'm Luke Macauley."

"I'm James Daley."

"OK people, I'm gonna be passing out your timetables for this year, and then you're going to go to your first class." (Teenage Unison Groan (tm)) Gallagher got up and began to pass out timetables. "Daley!"

"Yes sir." The whole class apart from me cracked up at the sound of his polite, cute, southern accent. Gallagher pretended not to notice, merely carrying on handing out the timetables.

"Holy fucking shit! What is this, punishment detail?" Luke banged his head on his table.

"Wassup, man?"

"Look at this crap! Algebra with RANDALL, first two today. Oh, I'd so like to kick the ass of the guy that made this shit up!" I couldn't help laughing at poor old Luke, but I quit laughing when I looked down at my own timetable and saw that I too had algebra first two with our beloved principal. I don't know how many principals teach, but ours does. I've never had him for a class before, but I know some people who have, and I know that they've never been quite the same since! I looked over at James, who proffered his timetable for translation. Poor guy...our school produces possibly the least comprehensible timetables in the world.

"Oh man, not you too! You got Randall first two as well!" Ok, sure I felt sorry for him, Luke, and myself, but at least it meant I got to spend some time with him. We weren't in many other classes together, just normal math, Spanish, and English, but again, time with him has got to be good. Anyway, before any of us could moan any more, the bell went for first period, and Gallagher shepherded us out into the corridor.

"Hey, Jim, wait 'til you see Randall! It's like staring into the eyes of the devil himself." Luke, obviously appointing himself morale officer...

"He's not that bad...if you stay quiet, that is," I said, trying to stop James thinking that he'd stepped into a madhouse prison calling itself a school. Of course he had, but he didn't need to know that quite yet!

"Not that bad? This is Randall we're...oops...OK, this is it, prepare to die!" Luke backed along the wall towards the door, commando style. "I'm going in!" he said, poking his head around the door.

"Macauley, get in here and stop fooling around!" Introducing Mr. Randall...

"Not THAT bad?" James mouthed at me, disbelievingly.

I smiled at him. "No, really..." not even believing what I was saying. I slinked around the corner, holding my breath.

"Robinson, you're late for the first class of semester! No, don't!" he said as I opened my mouth to tell him I'd been helping a new pupil to his class. "I'm sure I don't want to hear whatever your excuse may be. Now sit down." OK, there's me in my place...God I hate this man! I took one of the only two free places at the front of the class, right under Randall's nose. James tried to sneak in as unobtrusively as possible, but as soon as Randall turned around from admonishing me, he spitted James with the patented Randall death glare. "Ah, Mr. Daley, I hope Mr. Robinson hasn't been leading you astray already." See, that's what you get when you have a reputation...

"Uh, no sir."

"Then why were you late?"

"Chris was just showing me around, sir," James stuttered.

"Well, I'm not sure how they ran your school DOWN SOUTH, Mr. Daley, but here, we are on time for our classes, OK? Especially if we don't want to make a bad impression on our first day. Now sit."

James sat down next to me, shooting me one of those 'thanks a lot' glances. I flashed him a quick look of sympathy, turning my head back to Randall as he started his lesson...

"Now, this year, we are going to cover some of the more advanced areas of the subjects that you started on last year..." OK, instant boredom. I'd promised my parents that I'd try and pay more attention in class, especially in math and algebra and crap like that, but it was looking less and less likely that I'd be keeping that promise with every second that went by. Shame. The lesson dragged on and on, and thankfully, Randall only went into orbit once more, when Corey Stewart, one of the stoner kids told him that he didn't have a clue what Randall was talking about. One detention for Corey, first day back. Nice.

Even though I didn't learn much in algebra class (who does?!), I had at least survived my first hour and ten minutes of Randall with nothing more than a severe boredom problem. The second the bell rang. I grabbed my books and bag and practically ran out of the room, heading for my locker, just feeling the need to get away from Randall and relax. I unlocked it, threw my algebra books inside, and slammed it shut. I leaned back against the door, trying to relax.

"You got out of there pretty quick..." Oh, that heavenly, sexy voice. "You were right, it wasn't THAT bad, I suppose." I almost jumped out of my skin feeling James' hand settle on my shoulder.

"Well, I guess it could have been worse, but I screwed up. I got you into trouble on your first day. I'm sorry."

"Ha, don't worry about that. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have found homeroom! Well, anyway, the reason I came after you was...well, I need a hand with this timetable. I need someone to translate it, cause, well, I got no idea where I'm supposed to be going next."

"Yeah, they are a bit dumb, aren't they?" I said, taking the proffered piece of paper. "OK, ya got biology with Turner. She's not too bad. Before lunch, ya got...hey, look, why don't I write this down for you? I think that'd be easier. Ya got a pen?"

"Yeah, uh, just gimme a second." He rummaged in his bag , bringing out a gold pen.

"Whoa, you sure you want me to use this?" He merely nodded, so I quickly wrote his classes down on the timetable, in a way that was actually comprehensible to the human brain.


"Oh, hey, look, I better jet...see you at lunch, ok?"

"Yeah, seeya Chris." I watched him walk off down the hall, unable to tear my eyes away from his sexy butt. I can be such a perv sometimes, but he is so fine, I swear it.

The stream of students pouring past me brought me around, though. I slung my bag over my shoulder and went off to my history class. Oh, aren't Mondays just the finest thing? OK, no they're not, they suck. How the hell did I end up with double algebra, then double history, on a MONDAY? OK, sure, I had study hall with Luke just before lunch, which made it all a bit better, but not much! You might think I'm crazy, but I don't think history's too bad a subject- if you have the right teacher, that is. Of course, I don't. Mrs Dudley isn't that bad a person, I suppose, just deadly dull!

I walked into the history room... OK, typical. No one I knew well, apart from one of my friends from last year, who I hadn't really seen at all during summer break, Kath Richardson.

"Hey Kath, how ya doing?" I saw her smile and indicate the seat beside her, turning in her seat to talk to me.

"Oh, I'm good, but I missed seeing you so much this summer. Ya know, I was always told vacations should be fun. Spending nearly three months in Iowa with my grandparents isn't honestly what I had in mind."

"Yeah, I can imagine... oh, here we go," I finished as Dudley walked in through the door and set her books down on the table.

Kath and I gave each other a despairing look as Dudley wrote 'The Middle Ages' on the board, and I couldn't contain a laugh when she asked "What does The Middle Ages mean to you?"

I looked over at Kath and mouthed "menopause" at her, causing her to fold up, trying not to laugh out loud. She couldn't stop a giggle escaping, causing Dudley to spin round and skewered me with a death look.

"So, what does the Middle Ages remind you of, Robinson?"

I composed myself quickly and looked her straight in the eye. "Uh, the menopause, ma'am." The whole class dissolved into a huge fit of laughter, but Dudley couldn't have looked less amused if she'd been trying. Looks like I touched a nerve there. She just stood there, a real mean look on her face until everyone shut up.

"Mr. Robinson, I suppose you think that's funny, don't you?" I looked round, seeing most of the class trying to suppress at least a giggle.

"Uh, not exactly, ma'am."

"Well, I've had enough of it already, mister. Take it to the principal." What?!?

"Oh, c'mon, it was a joke," I complained, looking into Dudley's eyes and seeing no remorse there. "Oh man," I said, getting up, chucking my books in my bag, slinging it over my shoulder, and walking out without a backward glance. I gave the door a slam for good measure. Well, it didn't help that much, but it made a lot of noise, which made me feel a bit better.

Principal's office on the first fucking day. Oh, was I gonna catch it for this, from my parents too. I mean, I could hope that Randall would be out teaching, but in my heart I knew I was gonna get a grade A ass-chewing from him. He's always around when I screw up!

I knocked kinda tentatively at the door to his secretary's office and slipped in. All principals' secretaries are supposed to be bitches, but Miss Hart is a really nice person and I truly believe that, like us, she doesn't like Randall at all. I smiled at her and sat down in a chair to wait.

"Chris, what are you here for this time?" OK, she's seen me so much, she calls me by my first name now!

"I made a crack about the menopause in Dudley's... uh, I mean Mrs. Dudley's class."

Miss Hart tried to prevent a giggle, just about managing to keep it to a smile. "You actually said THAT? No wonder she sent you out! She's a little sensitive about that."

"Yeah, well," I said, standing up again and tucking my bag under the seat, "I guess I better get it over with."

"Alright, I'll tell him you're here." She turned to her desk and picked up a phone. "Chris Robinson to see you, Mr. Randall." She flashed me a quick look of sympathy. "OK, go on in. Good luck."

"Thanks." I opened the door and stepped into 'The Office Of Doom' (tm). Randall looked up at me with those little piggy eyes, staring so intensely he looked like he was trying to burn a hole in my face.

"Mr. Robinson, first day of a new school year and here you are in my office." Yeah, no fucking shit, Sherlock! I looked away, the atmosphere in the office pressing in on me. "Now, tell me why you're here."

"Mrs. Dudley sent me out of class for making a joke," I said, trying to give away as little as was possible.

"I don't want to know what it was, I'm sure. However, I'm equally sure that Mrs. Dudley had a very good reason for sending you to see me. Therefore, you will attend detention for an hour today, and a further hour tomorrow."

He filled out the detention slip and handed it to me. What a complete asshole! He didn't even wait to find out what I'd done! He just slapped the detention on me without a second thought. I've heard of sticking up for your staff, but this was just plain fucking stupid. Well, I'm damned if he thinks I'm going back to Dudley's class after that! Screw the trouble I might get into. About an hour until study hall... hmm, what to do? I went to my locker, slung my bag inside, shut the door, and fished my wallet out of my pocket. Hmm, about $40. $5 for lunch and the rest on a couple of CDs, I thought. Retail therapy, one of the best treatments for a bad mood!

I walked out the back door of the school and edged towards the gate, checking around for any teachers looking to make my day any worse than it already was. All clear, at least. I walked through the gate and out into the street. FREEEEEEEE!!!

My parents are really gonna love me for this - getting detention and skipping school on my first day back! I couldn't think of a much better day to do it, though- beautiful blue sky, hardly a cloud around, a gentle breeze caressing my skin. I dunno, but a day like this helps my mood immensely. All my frustrations practically melted away, replaced with a sense of contentment at just being free on a beautiful fall day. OK, sure, I'd have to return to hell sooner or later, but just for now, I was feeling a whole lot better. One stop at Sam Goody's and another at the deli would help even more.

I walked into our small Goody's. Hmm, a sale! Cool! I flicked through the display, picking out a couple of CDs I'd been meaning to buy for a while: Metallica's black album and Led Zeppelin's 'Houses Of The Holy,' the only Zep album I didn't have. Just when I was trying to work out whether I had enough for a third (sales tax is a bitch, isn't it?), I heard a voice behind me.

"If you're looking for another one, try that Jonny Lang one, 'Lie To Me'. It's very cool." I whirled round to see James standing there, an amazingly sexy little smile on his lips, gently biting his bottom lip. He was holding one of those guitar books, y'know, one of those ones that teach you how to play the album ('In The Beginning' by Stevie Ray Vaughn).

"James, uh, what are you doing here, man?" I said, as he handed me the album to look at.

"I had study hall, and uh... are you gonna buy that? It's worth it." I wondered at the quick change of subject, seeing the downcast look that crossed his face when he said it. But I let it go, for now at least.

"I don't have the money."

"How much are you short? I could lend you a bit, if you need it." OK, he was offering to lend me money now!

"About $4. OK, if you're offering. I'll pay you back tomorrow, alright?" He nodded, flashed me that gorgeous smile and handed me a five. As we were getting into the line to pay, I looked down at his book, and back up at him, a questioning look on my face. "You can play that? He's pretty good, huh?"

"He was, yeah. I love all his stuff. I can't really play it, no, but I try." That smile again...

We paid and went back outside. "Beautiful day today, huh?" Oh, what a conversationalist I am!

"Yeah, it's OK. A bit cold, though." Cold? Oh well, I guess it gets really hot down south.

"Hey, um, James, d'ya mind me asking why you're skipping school on your first day?"

"Well, why are you?" Oooh, defensive.

"I got thrown out of Dudley's class. You?"

His whole body language changed completely. He looked utterly dejected and not a little tired. "Some guy, he was, uh... "

"James, it's OK. Just tell me."

"Oh, Chris..." he was practically crying now. "This guy shoved me against a locker, called me a," *sniff* "faggot and said he was gonna beat the hell out of me. I ran away, I was so scared. All I did was to bump into him. He hit me, too," he said, pointing to his ribs.

"Who was it? Some senior?"

"No," *sniff* "I think he was in our grade. I think I heard someone call him Mark."

Masters! That asshole had been beating on my angel! I'm gonna fuckin kill him! To hell with what Martina thinks of me. I managed to keep myself under control. Just.

"What ya gonna do about it?"

"I dunno, Chris. I really thought he was gonna hurt me."

"Hey, don't worry, I'll fix him." 'I hope,' I added under my breath. I hadn't really noticed where we were walking, but before I noticed, we were back at the gates of hell. We went back in, me off to study hall and James to his biology class. "See ya in lunch, OK?" I shouted to his retreating back. He turned his head, nodded, and smiled again. I turned away, a fool's smile fixed on my face. I had no idea what he thought of me, but I knew I'd fallen for him completely and utterly. I think I'd hidden it from him pretty damn well, but I hung on his every word. I looked at him at every possible opportunity, as much as I could possibly get away with, drinking in every detail of his perfect face, every feature of his beautiful slim body. I didn't know if I was in love with him or simply infatuated, but it was definitely one of those "in-" things!

Study hall went like a blur and Luke certainly gave me a very funny look at the end when I got up and walked straight past him, going off to look for James. He was waiting for me outside the cafeteria. When he saw me, he immediately started walking over towards me, and bumped right into... Mark Masters! Masters grabbed him right around the throat.

"Watch where you're walking, you little faggot asshole!" OK, I couldn't stand by and let this happen. I practically ran over to them, grabbing Mark's arm as he brought it back to hit James.

"Leave him alone," I said quietly, trying to sound as sure of myself and as threatening as I could.

"Why, Robinson? He your boyfriend or something?" Ha, no, but he had no idea how much I wanted him to be!

"No, but what gives you the right to hit him just cause you bumped into him?"

Mark just looked disgusted and shoved James away from him. "Watch it, fag boy. Don't you ever touch me again," he said, storming off down the corridor.

"Thanks, Chris," James said, looking at me gratefully. I just wanted to lose myself in those beautiful blue eyes, but I was brought round by a hand dropping onto my shoulder.

"Hey guys!" Luke. I'd know that voice anywhere! "What you standing around out here for? There's a cafeteria through there... the more civilized of us eat in it."

"Me and Mark had a little disagreement."

"Oh... anyway, ya wanna go eat? I'm starving." Two track mind, that's Luke!

We walked into the cafeteria and lined up. I dunno, call me insane or something, but I don't think school food is that bad. However, when we sat down, Luke on one side of me, James on the other, it was pretty obvious my companions didn't share my enthusiasm with regard to the culinary efforts of our school's cooks.

Anyway, I gulped down my hot dog and fries, looking up to see Luke grimacing as he ate his and James just picking around his plate, not eating too much.

"Ya OK?" I asked, trying not too let too much concern show in my voice.

"Uh, yeah," he said, but the fact he was sitting with his shoulders tensed up like that showed me he was truly anything but.

"Not hungry?"

"Well, yeah... um, no... Look, Chris," he said, lowering his voice so Luke couldn't hear what he was saying. "I know you stopped him, but he really was gonna hit me and... OK, this is gonna sound really pathetic, but he scares me. I had problems with people like him back in Jackson...." He just trailed off into silence, looking down at his food, trying to avoid meeting my gaze.

"It's OK, man. It'll be fine, really. No one treats my friends that way. No one." I patted him on the arm softly, trying to reassure him. He seemed to relax a bit, but his shoulders were still hunched and tense. If I could, I would have given him a massage to try and relax him a bit, but there was no way of doing that in the cafeteria. Ha, I severely doubt he'd want me to do it anyway!

We ate in silence for about a minute and then he turned to me, that perfect face upturned towards me slightly. "Hey, Chris, uh, did you mean what you said about me... being your friend?"

"Yeah, of course I did, man. Don't worry about Mark. We'll deal with it, huh?" We finished our meal pretty much in silence again and went out back of the school. Luke and me had always hung out here after lunch last year. There's a wall a couple of feet tall, and we hopped up onto it. We were only there a couple of minutes when Kath turned up and sat on the wall beside me (in between James and me. Grr!).

"Hey Chris, hey Luke. Who's your friend?"

"This is James. He just moved here."

"Oh, cool. I'm Kath Richardson. Nice to meet you," she said, shaking his hand. "What are we doing, anyway?"

"Not too much. Same old boring school day. Remember those?"

"All too well, sweety." Sweety? Jesus, I mean, I knew we were friends, but THAT's kinda worrying. Ha, I'm probably stressing about nothing, but still...

"So, James, where did ya move from?"

"Jackson, Mississippi."

"Oh, too cool. What's it like down there?"

"Not so bad...." Again, that little flash of sadness in his eyes, the skin around them just creasing up a little. I just wanted to hold him but... well, you know. "I'm glad that I'm here rather than there, put it that way."

"Whoa, guys, check it out! MAJOR hottie approaching."

"Trust Luke to lower the tone of the whole day!" I said, but followed his gaze anyway. Hmm, not bad for a girl, but still, I'd far prefer to cuddle up with James! "OK, Luke, go on. $5 says she turns you down flat." I held my hand out towards him and he shook it without a second thought, jumping down off the wall. Kath looked at me disapprovingly.

"Look what you've done. Now I've gotta go make sure he doesn't make a complete fool out of himself."

"Haha, good luck!" I said as she jumped down and walked after Luke, leaving me alone with James again. OK, I needed to get to know him better and I had just the plan as to how I was gonna do it! "Uh, hey, would you like to come back home with me after school today? Y'know, we could listen to these CDs I got, hang out... " I trailed off, looking over at him, practically holding my breath.

"Yeah, that'd be great!" he said. "I better phone my parents just to let them know, though, or they'll worry about me."

"Sure. Ya wanna phone them now?" I said, grabbing my cellphone off my belt and opening it, offering it to him. OK, maybe a little too keen, but the chance that he might come back to my house was simply too good to pass up. But... oh fuck! Randall's detention! "Oh, shit...hey, I just remembered I got detention today. Maybe tomorrow or something?"

"It's no problem, I'll wait for you."

"James, man, it's an hour. It's no problem, we can do this some other time."

"No, it's OK, I'm in no rush to get home. I can wait for you." The look he gave me then almost made me fall off the wall. He was looking at me almost imploringly, biting his bottom lip gently. It was almost impossible to keep my cool looking into those eyes.

"OK, if you're sure." I couldn't believe this. Usually I don't let anybody borrow my phone, but I was practically throwing it at him! He took it from me and dialed his number.

"Hey mom... no, I just had lunch... yes mom, I do have class in a few minutes... uh huh... look, is it OK if I stop by a friend's house after school... no mom, it's not a girl!" I couldn't help but laugh at that. James turned to me and gave me that perfect smile, his sexy teeth practically flashing in the sun. "Yeah, mom, I'm still here. Back by 8? OK. See you then. Bye." He snapped my phone shut and handed it back to me, his fingers brushing up against mine, his soft skin almost caressing me. Oh sweet Lord, let him want me. I'll never ask for anything EVER again! "It's OK, but my mom says she wants me back home by 8."

"That sounds cool. Oh look, here comes loverboy. I wonder how he did."

"Pretty good, from the way he's walking." True, Luke was practically swaggering, a smile that he was trying to hide hovering around his lips. He stopped right in front of me and held out his hand.

"That's five you owe me, buddy."

"OK, and what's her mental disorder?"

"Fuck off! Her name's Rhiannon and she is majorly hot! We're going out Friday."

"Well, good for you, man." Major skeptical look from Luke. I put on my very best 'hurt' face. "No, seriously man, but how come we've never seen her before?"

"She's another transfer student. She moved here from San Francisco this summer 'cos her dad retired early. Dontcha think she's just the hottest?"

"Uh, sure, Luke. Really, I am pleased for ya."

"So pleased you're going to pay me?"

"When I get some money. I'm broke right now."

"It's OK...as long as I get it," he said, getting back on to the wall. Kath got up next to him. Hmm, I wonder why she'd been so quiet through the whole of that. Never mind, it's probably nothing.


"What? Already?" Fucking typical. We all went our separate ways, James off to English, Kath and Luke to chemistry, and me to an extraordinarily boring physics class. Somehow, though, it wasn't as bad as I remember physics being, and the following biology class seemed to just fly by.

Well, that was all very cool, but now I had detention for an hour! I slouched off to the detention room, possibly the most godforsaken place in the whole of our school. We call it 'the Tank' because there were little windows at the top of the room facing on to the back yard. People who were in there were on full display for the rest of the school to ridicule. The worst thing is that they just lock you in there. Literally. No supervision, no nothing. Not the most humane thing to do, but then that's my school for ya!

"Ah, Mr. Robinson... " Gallagher? Oh great, my own private jailer! He practically shoved me inside, smiling that rotten-toothed grin at me, locking the door and just walking off, whistling blithely. Asshole. I sat down on a table and just stared off into space. I hate this place, you just can't relax in it! I sat there, doing nothing, for about 40 minutes, wishing that I'd thought to bring my discman.

"Chris!" I heard a faint voice, a little scrabbling, and a knocking on the glass above me. I looked up and saw James' head at the window. He seemed to want me to open the window. At least that's what I think his hand motions meant. I dragged a table under the window, put a chair on top of it, hopped up, and hauled the window open.

"What are you doing out there?"

"Thought you might need some company. Also, Mark's outside the front gate." Oh no, not again! "Anyway, can I come in?"

"Ha, I've never heard of anyone wanting to get INTO the Tank before, but if ya can get in, be my guest."

I got off the chair and James threw his bag in, and tried to follow it, but he couldn't get his feet on the chair. "Help me already!"

I moved the chair out the way and stood underneath the window, my arms outstretched. "Jump! It's ok, I'll catch ya." He looked down at me kinda uncertainly, but he did jump, and before I knew it, I had 120 pounds of amazingly sexy boy in my arms. Just...like...that!

Copyright Hayabusa 2000

This story, unsurprisingly, contains scenes of love and sex between teenage boys. If you don't like the idea of that, I don't know why you're here. All characters in this story are completely fictional, and any resemblance to any persons, living, dead, dying, being born or yet to be born is purely coincidental and their own stupid fault.

Many thanks to Chris G for editing this, Chris, I don't know if you will ever truly understand how truly indebted to you I actually am. Once again, thanks for Turnabout, and all the help you've given me. Thanks also to Nifty for being the incredibly cool and generous people they are.

One last thing - if you like the story, please feel free to go to my website at http://hayabusa2001.tripod.com/ or to email me at hayabusa17@hotmail.com.